There have been a large number of feature updates within Business Central’s latest release. In this article I will begin the project (it really is a project) of describing the changes in functionality and how they might be used by our valued customers.
1. Bin Codes in Jobs
Bin and location codes are pivotal components of warehousing that long time Business Central users will be familiar with. Bins within a location enable advanced tracking, enabling more precise workflows and tracking of inventory. With the new change to Bin codes, Microsoft has enabled default bins, fixed bins and temporary bins for jobs. These can be enabled through personalization and can be a boon for environments that want to use job planning lines as a part of their warehousing suite or vice versa.
2. Send financial documents as attachments or having them in the body of your email
Another fantastic quality of life change for Business Central is sending documents as emails with any attached files automatically added as email attachments. Previously when using Business Central through Outlook there was a bit of an annoying interaction that had to be overcome. Namely, it was not easy to access system documents (orders, invoices etc.) as attachments. Having the ability to send financial documents as attachments or have them in the body of your email helps Business Central in its role as a hub for all of your operations.
3. Simplified bank statement file import
We have all had the experience of trying to comply with various banking standards. Business Central deals with that complexity for us, and with this new change, makes our lives even easier. If you are already submitting bank statements into Business Central for your monthly bank recs, you may notice the process has changed. For some banks and file formats, the process was already in line with what Microsoft has in mind for the bank statement upload process.
4. Variant code added to production order header & limited support for production BOMs and routes on stockkeeping units
This is quite honestly a game changer. Variant Codes within Business Central can be used to specify small changes within a product family, enabling better insight about the product that is actually being produced. Easily changing between variants at the level of an individual production order is quite simply a make-or-break feature for some workflows in manufacturing. Variant codes were already enabled on the item card and could be specified in a Production BOM and in Production Routing.
5. Payment reconciliation journal improvements
Reconciling your bank account on a monthly basis is good, but being able to do so daily is great. Payment reconciliation journal within Business Central allows for this. Using the Payment reconciliation journal we can use uploaded bank statements, or automatic bank feed if you have that enabled. Microsoft has recently provided the ability to use the payment reconciliation journal in conjunction with employee ledger entries.
6. More control over settings for default dimensions
One of Business Centrals killer apps is dimensions. Any new addition that enables this feature to become richer has immediate value for all Business Central environments. Previously locking down or enabling a dimension was a fairly binary decision. We could either allow the dimension (and subsequently make it mandatory) or we could disallow the dimension. However, if there were certain dimension values within a dimension that we did not want to be enabled, we did not have that option. As an example, we may have a 3 week campaign that is running, and would like to track all of the relevant transactions using a campaign dimension. Being able to disable and enable dimension values will enable new dimensions and ways of working for companies thinking about using Business Central.
7. Monitor inventory and transaction flow with availability by Lot window
Serial and Lot numbers are a main stay for manufacturing. Lot numbers allow for businesses to quickly assess key factors about inventory based on when it came into the warehouse, what other features are known about its Lot etc. For some industries lot tracking can be a legal requirement, so any additional features within lot functionality can be the difference maker for Business Central, when being compared to another ERP.
The Lot tracking window enables improved visibility and tracking at a glance for all Lots of a particular item within your organization.
As seen above, whether your Lot is in inventory, in planning or scheduled for receipt, there is clear visibility for all Lots used for a specific product.
8. New capability to adjust inventory documents
Managing inventory begins with documentation. From an accounting perspective Business Central has always been an industry leader, allowing businesses to manage and account for inventory in ways that are compliant with the most stringent accounting standards. From a warehousing and inventory management perspective, however, ERP’s have historically not been focused on delivering the same bar of excellence. With the new inventory documents, Microsoft looks to address this gap by allowing for more levels of control, and better tracking of inventory from when it enters a company’s hands to when it leaves.
Here’s what has been added:
Posted Inventory Receipt
Posted Inventory Shipment
All four of these are additional documents that can be printed as a part of your inventory management process.
9. Easy contact insights and access to history of interactions with contacts
New additions to Business Central’s contacts feature allows for better integration with similar features within Outlook and Microsoft Teams. From the contact card within Business Central, information can be displayed about all interactions had with a customer or vendor via the Interaction Log Entries. This enables fairly robust CRM functionality which can be a nice addition for companies that do not have a CRM product available.
10. Support cloud printing using Microsoft Universal Print
While a lot of businesses are going paper-less as part of their post-Covid reality, there are still some business practices that require physical paper. With universal printing support, Business Central is removing the bar to entry by having services installed on the cloud instead of your physical machine. Instead of having to set up new computers to print, that functionality is handled within the Microsoft 365 Cloud, enabling functionality over Wi-Fi for all authenticated users.
11. Enablement of Word merge in Business Central
Quite simple with this change but worth noting. Word Merge is an excellent tool for those who use it, to send out mass communications to clients and vendors alike. Being able to natively use word merges within Business Central was some low hanging fruit that ideally would have been added to the product sooner. Now that it is in there, this is an easy workflow improvement for businesses that had to work around not having this feature.
12. Synchronize item availability from Business Central to Dynamics 365 Sales
Delivering a quality sales experience for a customer begins with your product. Once you have made sure that your product is of the highest quality, the next step is to ensure availability. Previously that was not possible when working from Dynamics 365 Sales if your inventory management system was Business Central. This limitation was a whole in the otherwise rich tapestry of features between Business Central and D365 Sales that Microsoft is quickly patching up.
The list of synchronized entities includes:
The above integration field mapping only contains a small portion of what is available between the products as they share a common connection through dataverse. For more detailed information, please contact us at Rimrock.
13. Edit active prices in Price Overview & implement price changes using Price Worksheet
Pricing sheets are new feature for Business Central to help pricing professionals create more in-depth pricing schemes for their Business. The price worksheet acts as an alternative method of using pricing for specific customers and vendors. The pricing overview page added in this update additionally adds the ability to view all prices and pricing schemes across all products in the same place. This enables a level of planning not possible across several discrete item cards.
This 2021 Business Central Release Wave 1 had a ton of new information. If you would like to learn about any of the features listed above in more detail or have any questions, please contact us. One of our Business Central experts would be more than willing to help.